How to Plan and Build a Rock Garden

Rock gardens can be great sources of enjoyment. Not only are designing a rock garden and choosing its rock wardrobe fun, but rock gardens require much less maintenance than most other types, meaning youll have more time to simply enjoy their presence.

Some gardeners opt for rock gardens in order to exploit the natural lay of the land in their yards, such as rocky slopes. Others prefer to bring rocks into flat, relatively featureless yards to provide visual drama. Either way, the effort will be more than worth the trouble.

Though in larger garden areas, creating a sprawling, naturalistic rock garden may be the goal, rock gardens dont necessarily demand much space. Here are a few tips to help you get started:

Consider making a small raised bed for your rock garden to make it more of a feature in your lawn and keep rocks out of the way of mowing and other routine lawn maintenance chores.

Choose colors with care, for the colors of the rocks you choose will affect the types and colors of the plants you select to flesh out your overall color scheme. Red sandstone, for example, is a stunning backdrop for rock plants with small yellow flowers, while gray boulders make a perfect backdrop for reddish crevice plants.

Unless you are building some sort of deep grotto, your rock garden will need to be somewhat elevated above the main level of your lawn. To save on the number of decorative rocks you must use to create the desired effect, begin by making a base of soil and smaller rocks upon which the more eye-catching ones can rest.

To populate your rock garden, choose plants that will grow best when water percolates easily through the soil in which they are planted, leaving plants that prefer wet environments for other areas. Make sure that the plants you choose have very similar or the same growing requirements.

Choose drought-resistant plants if possible; they reduce the amount of time youll need to spend watering them. Look for plants with different heights, leaf shapes and textures to increase visual interest.

Good perennial rock garden plants include dwarf yarrow, carpet bugle, stonecress, rock jasmine, alpine columbine, creeping bellflower, snow in the summer, ice plant, hens and chicks, sulfur flower, spurge, oregano, penstemon primrose, saxifrage, woolly thyme and soapwort.

Once completed, your rock garden will provide you with many hours of (almost) carefree enjoyment. Rocks gardens are often considered visual eye candy for your garden and if you choose exotic rocks and large boulders to accent the space, you will love the final result!

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